Wal-Mart recently joins other business leaders to protest the “Religion Freedom Restauration Act.” A law the opens the door for discrimination on a religion bases. For many people, this move comes as a surprise. Wal-Mart is known for the poor treatment of workers and low pay scale. What is driving this change; is it good business or social responsibility?
Wal-Mart is not in the business of making political statements. They are certainly not in the business of making enemies. They are in the business of selling products. Wal-Mart needs to appeal to a more diverse America. They have to recruit the best talent to stay competitive. And be inclusive with their suppliers, many of them have satellite offices in Arkansas. Furthermore, Wal-Mart needs an image shake up. While it gets good grades in price, it is failing in everything else.
American population is becoming majority non-white. We just have to look at Millennials, who are America’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever. More than four-in-ten are non-white, many the U.S.-bornchildren of the big wave of Hispanic and Asian immigrants who began arriving half a century ago according to the Pew Research Center. They are political and social liberal and are armed with social media to express their opinion.
In terms of image, Wal-Mart is in need of a remake. Wal-Mart ranks as the most dislike buying grocery according to Consumer Report Annual Supermarket Survey.They earned low marks in every category besides price; this includes quality of products and customer services. Taking a stand against the RFRA makes them more welcoming.
As for social responsibility, Wal-Mart has a mixed history. For years, it has resistedcalls by labor groups to pay a “living wage” and its move in February to increase pay to at least $9 an hour. However, on the gender front, in 2011 Wal-Mart added gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy and in 2013 announced it would extend benefits to same-sex partners.
Corporate social responsibility is no longer a do-gooding sideshow. It has become the core of doing business. For Wal-Mart protesting the RFRA means good business for its customers, employees, and suppliers